Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


3.5
great

Review

by Rationalist USER (50 Reviews)
December 14th, 2009 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A droning cavalcade of jazz-based, portentous music comes with one stipulation; plain and simple, it's not as fantastic nor is it as beautiful as it could and should be.

Perhaps I'm not the most objective or qualified person to review this, and perhaps it will come across almost as another an upset fan reviewing an album to elucidate their disappointment. But let me forewarn you, I truly am not disappointed with the overall outcome of this record. I am however disappointed that Kayo Dot seems to have lost the magic present on the cinematic masterpiece that was “Choirs of the Eye,” and has in no other way redeemed themselves for their lack of beauty. Instead, this album is a jazzy, dark, questionable, noir-styled composition that hardly ever climaxes in exchange for a heavy cavalcade of instrumental haze.

Musically, this album has its shining moments, however, it also expands on the most unfortunate tediums that were occasionally present on their back catalog. Whilst most of the album drags on in its undeniably atmospheric, albeit tedious, build-ups, there are the occasional climaxes. These are most present on “The Awkward Wind Wheel” which incorporates portentous strings, urgent rhythms reminiscent of “Manifold Curiosity,” and lastly, mind-jarring changes that do not lose a hint of coherency. That's a nice touch for an avant-garde band, considering most others are just mind-jarring changes in tempo and stylization. However, these climaxes are, as I said, few and far between. And none amount to the loud bombastic rhythms present on “Marathon.” Neither do any of the interesting sections within this album compare with the-perhaps it is a piccolo paired with a trumpet, or a clarinet-solo arpeggio on “Manifold Curiosity.”

What should be interesting comes off more as pretentious and atmospheric as well. There are more vocal stylings and passages present than on any other Kayo Dot release, however, they do not match the croons on “Pitcher of Summer.” They don't compare to the raucous screams and practically wordless, meandering vocals that drag on beautifully on “Gemini Becoming The Tripod.” Instead, they can be compared with a Trelauney-esque poltergeist wandering throughout the Forbidden Forest in search of some other ignorant troll to annoy. I mean that in the best way possible however, because it's some of the most atmospheric vocalization present on the band's discography. And while I'm throwing the word “atmospheric” around as much as I am, I might as well come out and say it. This whole freaking album is atmospheric. It's like a much more innovative Low album, just with a different band playing the claustrophobic cavalcade that this album is. But it is the innovation and the atmosphere that make this album what it is, and while the amount of both of these elements are extreme and copious, it makes the album a worthwhile purchase, that and the fact that Toby Driver is greater than ninety-percent of humanity.

To close, the album is morose. The instrumentation often drags on, and is definitely more jazz-influenced than anything else that this band has written to date. The vocals are interesting to say the least, and whilst they are sub-par in comparison to Kayo Dot's previous affairs, they add to the lulling musical experience that is Blue Lambency Downward. However, I'd just like to quote Jane Austen, I believe it was Jane Austen, who said, “I do not write for dumb elves, who cannot think for themselves.” Perhaps Kayo Dot should return to their previous style of music to regain their position as advocates for this phrase, rather than the opposite.

FINAL RATING: 3.7/5.0-Perhaps the denizens do march toward those fumes we used to know.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rationalist
December 14th 2009


880 Comments


I dearly hope that this is not the future direction for the band.

NOTINTHEFACE
December 14th 2009


1653 Comments


Great review. I very much enjoyed your declaration of Toby Driver's greatness, although I'd up the percentage to something like 99.99999. I haven't heard this yet, so I can't disagree or agree. I'm moving very slowly through Kayo Dot, and hopefully I'll get Dowsing Anemone for Christmas.

Rationalist
December 14th 2009


880 Comments


This is the order of Toby Driver's discography in my opinion:
Choirs of the Eye>Bath>Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue=Leaving Your Body Map=In The L..L..Library Loft>Part The Second>My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible>Blue Lambency Downward.

Rationalist
December 14th 2009


880 Comments


^^LPs only.

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 14th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

definitely more jazz-influenced


Yeah, except none of this is jazz as Driver's stated before. There's no improv. I mean, The Right Hand... is very much inspired by a lounge-jazz vibe. But horns, woodwinds and brushed drums =/= jazz.

Otherwise the review is pretty good, though I think you spend too much time comparing this to other Kayo Dot albums.

NOTINTHEFACE
December 14th 2009


1653 Comments


Out of what I actually own, I'd say...

Bath>Choirs of the Eye>Leaving your Body Map>Part the Second.

Man, I need some more Toby Driver.

qwe3
December 15th 2009


21368 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah bath is driver's best work. good review this album is like a 3 for me

RagingStorm
December 15th 2009


509 Comments


All i've actually heard is Bath and Leaving Your Body Map.
Judging from those two, I think I need to hear a lot more.

tombits
December 15th 2009


3471 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is kind of average, which is sad considering Choirs of the Eye is one of my favourite records. Still can't wait for the new album next year.

TheGreatD17
December 15th 2009


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still love this, it's far more listenable than a lot of his post-Choirs albums. The review is good, but it's general practice to italicize album titles so they're not confused with songs.

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 15th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Still can't wait for the new album next year.


Did you hear that song they posted? It's fucking terrible.

Also, I pulled this out again and decided to listen to it again. The melodies are really uninteresting in this album, which is unfortunate because this could've been their best album if the melodies were better.


Rationalist
December 15th 2009


880 Comments


@thebhoy: jazz-based.... not jazz. Jazzy=what I was saying. Jazz=how you took it.

@thegreatd17: are the italics/bolds/underlines in BBC codes or HTML? I think it's the former, but I have no experience with BBC.

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 15th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

but what I was saying was it isn't jazzed-based either...

tombits
December 15th 2009


3471 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Did you hear that song they posted? It's fucking terrible.

Nope, but isn't Mia playing bass or something? Craaaaaazy.

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 15th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

it has like... no real melodic progression... or interesting parts in general. There's a glimmer of hope when some horns come in the second half, but then it ends.

tombits
December 15th 2009


3471 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sounds like blue lambency downward.

god no.

Rationalist
December 15th 2009


880 Comments


@ thebhoy:

is very much inspired by a lounge-jazz vibe

it isn't jazzed-based either



thebhoy
Emeritus
December 15th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

mmmhmm and lounge-jazz VIBE is not the same as saying something is jazzed-based.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

album's terrible, huge disappointment. not looking forward to the next one either

Rationalist
December 15th 2009


880 Comments


not much of a difference.

And can someone send me a link to the band's new song? I want to see if it is indeed that bad.



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